February 16, 2023: Treasurer to Political Committees “Friends of Cathy Bevins” and the “Baltimore County Victory Slate” Charged with Multiple Counts Of Felony Theft Scheme, Embezzlement, and Perjury
Maryland State Prosecutor Charlton T. Howard, III, announced today that a criminal information has been filed in the Circuit Court for Baltimore County, Maryland, charging William Christopher McCollum, the Treasurer for the campaign finance committees “Friends of Cathy Bevins” and the “Baltimore County Victory Slate”, with multiple counts of felony theft scheme, embezzlement, and perjury.
According to the charges filed today, Mr. McCollum, who served as treasurer to both campaign finance committees, was systematically stealing funds raised by the committees, without the knowledge of the candidates the committees sought to support. The “Friends of Cathy Bevins” is a campaign committee that raised money to support the election of former Baltimore County Councilwoman Cathy Bevins. The charges allege that from April 23, 2015 through and including January 31, 2020, Mr. McCollum embezzled $111,014.89 in funds from the campaign for his personal benefit. The charges further allege that he stole the funds through direct payments to pay his personal American Express credit card bill and by taking checks made out to the “Friends of Cathy Bevins” from donors and depositing those checks directly in his personal account. He is also alleged to have transferred money from the campaign account to his personal bank account and in addition, wrote checks from the campaign account to purported vendors, but instead of issuing the checks to those companies, deposited those checks into his own account. The charging document also alleges he used campaign funds to travel with a romantic partner while in Puerto Rico, and for flights to Palm Beach, Florida. He did not disclose these expenditures on the campaign reports that he filed with the State Board of Elections and signed under the penalties of perjury.
The charges further allege that Mr. McCollum was engaged in similar schemes in his role as treasurer to the “Baltimore County Victory Slate”, a campaign committee comprised of several candidates for public office in and around the Baltimore County area. A slate, like any other campaign committee, is required to file campaign finance reports under the penalties of perjury. The charges allege that Mr. McCollum embezzled $31,269.63 from the “Baltimore County Victory Slate” from May 27, 2015 through and including December 14, 2018. The charges also allege that he engaged in similar theft schemes by depositing checks made out to the “Baltimore County Victory Slate” into his personal bank account and also using the funds to pay his personal American Express credit card bills. According to the charging document, Mr. McCollum did not disclose these expenses on the required campaign finance reports filed with the State Board of Elections and signed under the penalties of perjury.
“Treasurers of campaign finance committees have an important role in ensuring funds raised to support a political candidate or candidates are used to benefit the purpose of the campaign,” said State Prosecutor Howard. “Our Office strives to hold individuals in positions of public trust in the electoral process accountable if they violate that trust for personal gain.”
All individuals who are charged with a criminal offense are presumed to be innocent.
A copy of the charging document can be found on HERE.